The men in khaki continue to embarrass the Naveen Patnaik Government. Facing flak for growing atrocities on women and its ministers and police officers embroiled in dowry torture slur, the Government on Monday found itself at the receiving end after a journalist was beaten up by cops right in front of Naveen Nivas.
The scribe, representing a popular Odia daily, was seeking access towards Naveen Nivas to cover an agitation when the policemen, watching the barricades, thrashed him unprovoked. Subhakant Padihary, the reporter, tried telling the cops that he was a journalist, but they just would not pay any heed. He even showed them his ID card, but to no avail.
The incident snowballed into a major controversy with journalists staging a dharna near Naveen Nivas demanding action against those behind the incident. They demanded immediate suspension of the personnel, who baton-charged Subhakant, and Inspector In-Charge of Airfield Police Station Girija Chakravarty, besides seeking transfer of Bhubaneswar DCP Nitinjit Singh.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who met the journalists, asked Director-General of Police Prakash Mishra to look into the demands and take necessary action.
The incident, which found its echo in the Assembly, saw the Opposition as well as the ruling party leaders rushing to the spot and taking stock of the situation. Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan, BJP leader Jayanarayan Mishra and BJD MLA Sanjay Dasburma met the journalists near Naveen Nivas.
Subhakant, according to reports, was pillion-riding because of an injury to his leg. While police were trying to control the Chhatra Congress activists, his bike was stopped at a barricade where he told the cops that he was a scribe, but the policemen took a swing at his leg. He showed his ID card, but it was ignored and more cops attacked him.
‘’When I was being caned mercilessly by the cops, Bhubaneswar DCP Nitinjit Singh was present, but he walked away,” he said. Contacted, DGP Mishra said he will hold a discussion with the journalists on Tuesday and take necessary action.